Sunday, August 16, 2009

Highway 7 ...

Enough of current events and southwestern Montana for a little while. Here's a photo I took several years ago of Montana State Highway 7, heading south from the town of Baker, running straight as an arrow.


  1. Which stretch of arrow straight road is the longest in MT? I thought it might be the one from Great Falls to Fort Benton...but there IS a curve or two in that one. It's awful long when one is desperate for a pit stop though...

  2. Ooooh, a very good question! I don't have an answer, and I suspect that it might depend on the criteria you use ... whether it has to be a state highway, what counts as a curve, and so on.

    I think Highway 7 would actually be one of the contenders for the honor, and I can think of a couple others off the top of my head: Montana Highway 24, east of Fort Peck Reservoir, and Montana 200, heading northeast from Circle.

    And the nice thing about most of those roads is that they're so empty -- you can make an informal pit stop without getting caught! :)

  3. The other burning question is how many bridges are there crossing the Clark Fork...LOL
    This first came up on a field trip to Cranbrook, BC when we went years ago with a Railroad History Class. There were 10 of us and we couldn't get an accurate count between CD'A and the border.

    On my drives home from Fort Benton I've twice tried to count the number of CF crossings...I came up with 13, but could have miscounted.

    When you pull up a map of the Clark Fork in Google Earth it looks like one helluva fun trip to try and follow it...300 plue miles I think. Not a straight patch of road anywhere. :)

  4. Heh ... there are a lot, without a doubt! New highway bridges and old highway bridges and railroad bridges, and on and on. Some of them quite handsome, too.

    I think the stretch of the Clark Fork from about Alberton to Paradise is one of the lovelier parts of Montana. I wish I could have seen it before the highway-building through there got so ridiculously out of hand. Freeways really have a knack for destroying the landscape (as anyone who drives through the Silver Valley would know!).

  5. Coming to the party late on the how many bridges over the Clark Fork question; but the numerous b ridge wash-outs over the Clark Fork and the St. Regis de Borgia River are a reason that the Mullan Road failed as a transportation route. The US Military built the road in 1860 for $230,000 but didn't alot a dime for maintenance. I guess that whole Civil War thing was a strain on their finances...

  6. Interesting stuff, Courtney! And it still amazes me that they were even able to construct the road in the first place, way back then.

    I've no doubt that there were flooding issues that persisted well after the 1860s ... I think, in fact, that one of the railroad lines up the St. Regis canyon was destroyed by flooding in the 20th century.